Conor Heins

Conor is a PhD student interested in the basic principles underlying the dynamics and organization of complex systems. In particular, he investigates the notion that such systems, from single cells to economies, look as if they implicitly ‘model’ their surroundings. In pursuing this idea, he relies heavily on a theoretical framework called the Free Energy Principle. He completed a BA in Neuroscience at Swarthmore College and a MSc. in Neuroscience at the University of Göttingen, with a focus on computational neuroscience and active inference. Currently, Conor borrows methods from non-equilibrium thermodynamics,

Bin Ma

Bin obtained his degree BSc in Aquaculture from Southwest University (China) in 2015, and his MSc in Environmental Science from Dalian Ocean University (China) in 2019. He studies the ways social contexts affect behaviour and autonomic stress responses in social cichlids. He is also interested in understanding how the brain and behavior can be shaped by the social environment. Bin has funded a 4-year scholarship by the China Scholarship Council.

Alexandre Machado

Alexandre earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology (2015) and his Master’s degree in Ecology (2018) from the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazil). For his Mater’s thesis, he studied how individual traits affect the social structure of bottlenose dolphins that forages cooperatively with artisanal fishers. Alexandre is now a Ph.D. student at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, under the supervision of  Prof. Fabio Daura-Jorge,  Dr. Mauricio Cantor and Dr. Damien Farine. He is investigating how individual variation in dolphins that forage with artisanal fishers influences the benefits accrued in this unique cooperation.

Salamatu Abdu

Salamatu grew up in Northern Nigeria. After completing high school, she obtained a BSc degree in Zoology at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. During her third year she completed a six-month internship in a parasitology and protozoology laboratory at the faculty of Veterinary Medicine, conducting research on the prevalence of parasites in wild birds in Zaria Kaduna State. She then joined the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, where she completed a masters on the effects of shade availability on water hole use by desert birds.

Tobit Dehnen

Tobit Dehnen earned his integrated Master’s degree from the University of Sheffield. For his Master’s project, he worked on home-range ecology in long-tailed tits with Prof. Ben Hatchwell. During his degree he also worked as an intern, studying cultural inheritance, sexual selection and immunity with Dr. Lucy Aplin, Dr. Martin Garlovsky and Prof. Mike Siva-Jothy, respectively. Tobit is now a PhD student at the University of Exeter—co-supervised by Dr. Damien Farine and Dr.

Zhanwei Gao

Zhanwei is a PhD student in Beijing Normal University. He earned his BSc in Information Engineering from Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology in 2013, and his MSc in Systems Science from Beijing Normal University in 2016. In 2018 Zhanwei was awarded a 2-year scholarship from the China Scholarship Council for his PhD research. From October 2018, he joined the Couzin lab as a joint PhD student at the Department of Collective Behaviour in the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology.

Guy Amichay

Guy is interested in how information is processed in biological systems. In particular, how information flows through biological collectives, such as fish schools. He hopes to combine experiments (using VR) and theory to tackle these questions. Guy received his BSc from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a MSc from Tel Aviv University, working on locust collective motion in changing landscapes.



Peng He

Peng obtained his degree BSc in Biological Sciences from Northwest A&F University (China) in 2014, and his MSc in Ecology from Fudan University (China) in 2017. For his Masters’ thesis, he studied stopover ecology of migratory shorebirds. In 2017, Peng was awarded a 4-year scholarship from the China Scholarship Council for his PhD. His main research interest is to investigate the effects of habitat structure on the social organizations, and its consequences for population-level processes (both ecological and evolutionary),